Malawi Under-17 national soccer team coach John Kaputa is relishing another qualification to the CAF Under-17 Youth Championship and the journey starts this afternoon.
Malawi host Botswanaâ€™s Young Zebras in a preliminary round, first leg at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.
Malawi first qualified for the youth continental showcase in Algeria under Kaputaâ€™s tutelage in 2009, but failed to participate in the previous event due to financial constraints.
A lot has changed since then as Kaputa no longer has the luxury of featuring already established players from the Super League.
But Kaputa is still optimistic that his new charges can repeat history and qualify for the 10th edition of the finals.
The tactician, who last month complained that his new players were struggling with basics, yesterday said the bulk of them had now picked up.
â€œThe confidence is building up as we draw closer. We are now working on the final touches and we are looking forward to using home ground advantage. We have successfully worked on the technical basics that were lacking and it looks promising,â€ said Kaputa.
His deputy Leo Mpulula and team manager Nicholas Mhango have been working on building play from defence, midfield as well as attacking.
However, he could not disclose his possible line-up.
â€œThe first XI is coming up based on performance, mental and psychological strength, but as of now, I cannot say who will feature,â€ said Kaputa.
But Dalitso Makunganya is tipped to start between the posts whereas Boston Kabango, captain Lovemore Jere and Peter Chembezi will integrate the midfield as Tiwonge Malenga and Kondwani Phiri will team up upfront.
The team played a couple of build-up matches against local teams, notably Big Bullets in the countdown to this afternoonâ€™s clash.
Thousands of fans are expected to converge on Silver Stadium to support their team. Botswana arrived in the country on Wednesday and got the feel of the match venue yesterday.
The return leg is slated for Gaborone in two weeksâ€™ time.